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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2022
    What ho one and all,

    I have a brick cavity boundary wall (it is mine) that originally, was the wall to the garage. The neighbours side is fine (that was the external wall) but my side (it was the internal) is not so good. The wall is now external on both sides.

    My side, many of the bricks are spalling and a lot of the mortar, in patches is loose and easy to poke with a cold chisel. In the past, I had applied a water sealing coat, but it does not last long. It is not decorative, so I am reluctant to remove all the spalling bricks and rake out all the mortar, particularly as a lot of the mortar is pretty solid, but patches are just like dust.

    My question is, what is the easiest way to tidy it up and give it a new(ish) lease of life without creating a major job?

    Thanks and toodle pip
    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2022

    Age related memory glitch!

    Nothing growing up it; probably around 60 years old and the section that I would like to be a bit tidy, was until we demolished the bungalow, the garage interior.

    I painted it with a grey masonry paint X years ago but that did say on the tin, breathable.

    Based upon my afternoon work with a wire brush, with the exception of the spalling bricks, most of the mortar is solid but there are parts that just turn to dust. So can only conclude that the original builders were somewhat 'relaxed' in their workmanship an quality control.

    I'm guessing, wire brush off anything loose, rake out any flaky and dusty mortar, repoint where necessary and another coat of breathable masonry paint. If I can get another 8-10 years out of the finish, I will be of an age that we will be considering downsizing.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2022
    Would you consider limewash?
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2022
    Won't limewash need more maintenance?
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2022
    Posted By: Rexcan only conclude that the original builders were somewhat 'relaxed' in their workmanship an quality control.
    Yet the other side of the wall is fine? I wonder if your 'breathable' masonry paint wasn't actually that breathable, and/or if the wall was repointed with a cement mortar?

    Growing something up it would be the easy solution, as Will suggests. Otherwise repoint in lime mortar. Be careful with the wire-brushing; the original surface of the brick is likely to be harder than the interior, so you don't want to damage that more. For the same reason, a chemical paint stripper may also be preferable to wire-brushing off the masonry paint. Limewash would be a good alternative finish - definitely breathable, and weathers in an attractive way.
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2022
    Why would a garage wall built 60 years ago use lime mortar? Wouldn't cement be more usual? Perhaps it's as simple as that the bricks used for the inside whythe weren't frost resistant so they can be expected to spall if they are now outside.

    So it depends largely on aesthetic considerations what to do. Grow plants up it, paint it, or put render over it. All assume that you have capped the wall as previously suggested.
    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2022
    Thanks for your suggestions.

    I don't think there is an easy solution. Certainly, the capping needs to be redone. As for the wall, I guess it is repoint in the areas where the mortar is soft and flaky.

    Alternative is to render, but as it is not a 'feature' wall, I don't want to spend that sort of expense. Guess I could try it myself?
    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2022
    If I wire brush to remove any of the spalling brick and clean out the loose and soft mortar, is applying something like this (https://www.diy.com/departments/tarmac-one-coat-ready-mixed-render-25kg-bag/1501080_BQ.prd) a reasonable idea to protect from future weathering?
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